How to Check for Lice on Yourself

Discovering lice may be an itchy and uncomfortable experience, but knowing how to check for them on yourself is the first step in solving this problem effectively. In this article, we will guide you through the process of inspecting for lice, proposing important recommendations for a careful examination and peace of mind.

What are Lice?

Lice are tiny parasitic insects that infest the hair and scalp of humans and animals. They feed on blood by biting the skin, triggering itching and discomfort. Lice spread through close personal contact and may be treated with specialized shampoos or medications. These parasitic insects may be complicated to spot since they are only 2-3 mm long.

Types of Lice Affecting Humans

There are three common types of lice that affect humans. They are as follows: head lice, body lice, and pubic lice (crabs). Head lice are found on the scalp and hair. Body lice infest clothing and bedding. Pubic lice are found in the pubic region. All these types of lice trigger itching and discomfort.

Head Lice

Head lice represent tiny insects that infest the scalp and hair. They feed on human blood and may cause itching and discomfort. They are most common among children and are usually transmitted through close head-to-head contact. Proper treatment includes utilizing specialized shampoos and meticulous combing to remove the lice and their eggs.

Body Lice

Body lice are parasites that infest clothing and bedding, only coming into contact with the human body to feed on blood. They may trigger severe itching and transmit diseases. Improved personal hygiene and regular clothing changes are required for prevention, while treatment involves washing and disinfecting infested items.

Pubic lice/crabs

Public lice, usually called “crabs”, are small insects that infest coarse body hair like in the pubic area, but may likewise affect armpits and chest. They trigger itching and discomfort. Transmission usually occurs through sexual contact. Treatment involves specialized creams or shampoos and careful washing of infested clothing and bedding.

When to Check

Check for lice if you experience scalp itching or sores. After contact with someone with lice, after sleepovers or camps, and before returning to school after breaks are also important times to inspect for these tiny pests. Early detection is crucial for preventing their spread.

Signs of Lice

Signs of lice infestation commonly involve persistent itching of the scalp or affected area, visible small white or brownish eggs (nits) attached to hair shafts, and tiny, rapidly moving insects on the scalp or in hair. Scratching may result in sores and redness. Prompt treatment is of decisive importance to prevent further spread.


One of the most widespread signs of lice infestation is itching. When lice bite and feed on blood from the scalp, they inject saliva that triggers irritation. This results in persistent itching, especially around the neck and behind the ears. Scratching may lead to secondary infections and sores.

Red Bumps or Sores

Red bumps or sores on the scalp and neck are another explicit sign of lice infestation. These marks commonly develop because of the body’s reaction to lice bites. Scratching may worsen the problem, potentially resulting in infection. Regularly inspecting the scalp may assist in detecting lice early and preventing complications.

Nits on Hair Shafts

Nits, or lice eggs, clinging to hair shafts are a key sign of a lice infestation. They look like tiny, oval, and whitish structures firmly attached close to the scalp. These stubborn nits may be complicated to remove and are a clear indicator of an active lice issue that demands treatment.

What You Need

To check for lice on yourself, you will need to prepare a few things. They include a fine-toothed comb, white paper towels, good lighting, and a magnifying glass (optional). Comb through your hair, concentrating on the scalp and behind the ears. Lice are tiny and move rapidly, so thoroughness is crucial. Utilize the white towel to spot any tiny, crawling parasites.

Fine-toothed Comb

A fine-toothed comb is essential when you should check for lice on yourself. This specialized comb assists in detecting lice and nits (lice eggs) by capturing them as you comb through your hair. Comb thoroughly, paying attention to the scalp and hair roots, ensuring effective lice inspection and removal.

White Paper Towels

White paper towels are also crucial for self-lice checks. Lay one beneath your hair while combing. Any dislodged lice or nits will be visible on the white background, making detection simpler. The contrast of lice against the white paper ensures a careful examination and aids in effective lice removal.

Good Lighting

Good lighting is of decisive importance when checking for lice on yourself. Adequate illumination may assist in spotting tiny lice and nits, ensuring a careful inspection. Natural daylight or a bright, adjustable lamp is ideal. Well-lit surroundings allow you to identify and eliminate any lice infestation accurately, increasing the effectiveness of treatment.

Magnifying Glass (Optional)

A magnifying glass, while optional, may be helpful for a more detailed self-lice examination. It improves your ability to scrutinize the scalp and hair strands, making it simpler to spot elusive lice and nits. Although not obligatory, a magnifying glass may ensure additional clarity when carrying out a careful lice check.

Step-by-Step Guide on Checking for Lice

Do you suspect you have lice? Then, you may easily check for lice on yourself. For this, your task is to follow definite effortless steps. They include preparing and sectioning your hair, examining the contents, checking the entire scalp, verifying ears and nape of the neck, etc. Let’s have a look at every step closer.

Preparing Your Hair

To check for lice, start with preparing your hair. Wash and condition it as you normally would to ensure it’s clean and manageable. This step is necessary before proceeding with a careful examination to detect any signs of lice infestation.

Sectioning the Hair

In the process of checking for lice, the next step is sectioning the hair. Take small sections and comb through from the roots to the tips, verifying for lice or nits. Repeat this process systematically across your entire scalp, ensuring comprehensive coverage to notice any indications of lice infestation.

Examining the Contents

After sectioning your hair, it’s time to examine the contents. Follow moving lice or tiny brown/gray specks stuck on the comb. Wipe the comb on a towel or paper towel to remove any findings. This step assists in confirming the presence of lice and ensures a careful inspection.

Check Entire Scalp

Keep on the lice-checking process by examining your entire scalp section by section. This thorough approach guarantees no area is overlooked, making it simpler to spot any signs of lice or nits. Be attentive and patient to detect and eliminate any potential infestation comprehensively.

Ears and Nape of Neck

Don’t forget to inspect behind the ears and the nape of the neck carefully. Lice may usually hide in these areas. Utilize the same method of sectioning, combing, and checking for moving lice or nits to ensure a meticulous examination and address any potential infestation in these hard-to-reach spots.

Use Magnifying Glass

For an even more detailed inspection, consider the possibility of utilizing a magnifying glass if available. It may assist you in closely examining the hair shafts and scalp, making it simpler to spot tiny lice or nits. This extra step may increase the accuracy of your lice-checking process.

What to Do if Lice are Found

If lice are found, it is of paramount importance to contact a doctor for treatment recommendations. They may grant guidance on appropriate over-the-counter or prescription remedies, as well as propose advice on how to effectively manage and prevent the spread of lice to others. Early intervention is key to resolving the problem.

Lice Treatment Options

There is no doubt that lice bring discomfort only. Luckily, there are many effective treatment options for those who have lice. Lice treatment options commonly involve over-the-counter shampoos, various creams, and prescription medications. Consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and guidance on the most suitable treatment.

Shampoos and Creams

Lice treatment options such as shampoos and creams often contain active ingredients like pyrethrin or permethrin, which work by killing lice and their eggs. These products are easily available over the counter and are commonly utilized alongside meticulous combing to effectively address lice infestations. Always follow the instructions for the best results.


In addition, lice treatment options may involve prescription medications such as Stromectol (Ivermectin), commonly utilized for stubborn cases. Ivermectin operates by paralyzing and killing lice and their eggs. Nevertheless, its use should be under medical supervision because of potential side effects. Consult a doctor for guidance on its appropriateness and proper administration.


Lice are tiny and unpleasant parasitic insects that cause itching and discomfort. Fortunately, maintaining good hygiene and regular self-checks will be useful for preventing and addressing lice infestations. Early detection and proper treatment are key to solving this common problem effectively.


How to self-diagnose head lice?

To self-diagnose head lice, you may look for symptoms, examine the hair, check behind the ears and neck, and consult a healthcare professional.

How can I check my own hair for lice?

To check your own hair for lice, you will need a fine-toothed comb, white paper towels, good lighting, and a magnifying glass.

Do I have lice or am I paranoid?

To make sure you don’t have lice, you may check your hair, behind the ears and neck with a fine-toothed comb, or see your doctor.

Can you feel lice with your fingers?

Yes, it is possible to feel lice with your fingers.